Kaiser Chiefs 2/19/14

(a) setlist

    1. The Factory Gates
    2. Never Miss A Beat
    3. Everything Is Average Nowadays
    4. Everyday I Love You Less And Less
    5. Bows & Arrows
    6. Little Shocks
    7. Coming Home
    8. You Can Have It All
    9. Modern Way
    10. Ruffians On Parade
    11. I Predict A Riot
    12. Ruby
    13. Misery Company
    14. The Angry Mob

Encore:

  1. Cannons
  2. Oh My God

(b) highlights

  • yooooo, this setlist is ace – I loved everything from the new tracks of Education, Education, Education & War like “The Factory Gates” to the verified classics like “Modern Way”
  • I’m pretty sure “Bows & Arrows” is in my top 3 or 5 Kaiser Chiefs songs. Ever. God, I just want to run down the street and scream-sing, “We the people, created equal! We the people, created equal!” and that feeling is the best.
  • this was my first time seeing Kaiser Chiefs is nearly 7 years and it was awesome. To see how they’ve grown (and slimmed down, in the case of Mr. Wilson) musically and as performers was pretty staggering.
  • the on-stage banter was top-notch and Ricky engaged with the audience a ton, including bringing a dude on-stage to slow dance during “You Can Have It All.” Total highlight.
  • if “Oh My God” wasn’t one of your favorite songs during the early to mid-2000’s, you’re lying.
  • I uncharacteristically stayed after the show and met Ricky and Simon, which was a bit of an out-of-body experience, to say the least. I remember being 14 and singing “I Predict A Riot” in my bedroom the summer of 2005 and now Ricky Wilson is telling me I look like a young Carrie Bradshaw. What is this world.

(c) lowlights

  • does wearing the exact same Kaiser Chiefs shirt as the dude next to you count?
  • The Music Hall of Williamsburg could have better sound, man. If you’re not standing dead-center, you’re a bit off.

(d) overall thoughts

As I mentioned, this show was the first time seeing Kaiser Chiefs since their release of Yours Truly, Angry Mob back in 2007. I’ve been a fan since Day 1 of hearing “I Predict A Riot” back during the NME Tour of 2005 when Kaiser Chiefs first started kicking things around with The Killers, Bloc Party, and The Futureheads during that summer. Unlike many stupidly-popular alt-indie rock bands today, Kaiser Chiefs started out not only with solid songs but an undeniable stage presence. They wore silly suits, skinny ties, and eyeliner like the rest of them, but Ricky Wilson was also climbing up rafters, hanging off balconies, and climbing into crowds. Even in 2014, that excitement was still there. During new songs and old, Ricky was throwing micstands around, swinging the mic by its chord, and engaging with the small theatre as if it were a festival with – dare I say it – even a bit more energy than I remember.

Sure, some things were different about this show than ones in previous years. Nick Hodgson, the drummer and notable songwriter of the band had gone and been replaced by a pretty cool dude named Vijay Mistry. Many indie snobs predicted the end of the band once Nick stepped away from the band just before the recording and release of Education, but – in all honesty – I don’t think the band suffered much. Ricky, most notably, had starred as one of the judges on the British version of The Voice, which was and is still bit weird to think about as a fan. Again, many naysayers decried this as the end of Kaiser Chiefs and the ultimate selling-out point, and in any other context I would be inclined to agree. But after seeing this show and hearing Education – naw, we’re fine. This is Kaiser Chiefs, man. They made a concept album about war, invoking the British WWII experience of rationing, keeping calm and carrying on, and have freaking Bill Nighy recite a long-form poem during “Cannons.” Does anyone really consider that selling out to pop crowds of The Voice?

There’s a lot you can say about Kaiser Chiefs – hell, even I’m not the biggest fan of every single album they’ve done (The Future Is Medieval is a real low-point for me in their discography) – but you can’t say that they don’t bring energy and commitment to every performance. Ricky was up, down, and all-around that stage, up on speakers, down on his knees, a bit more spry than I remember him. It’s difficult to not love them and want to entirely lose your shit during “Everyday I Love You Less And Less” and “The Angry Mob,” and even more significantly, when you can’t help but want to throw your arms around new tracks like “Bows & Arrows,” “Coming Home,” and “Misery Company.” Kaiser Chiefs very much came back with this show even though they never really left.

Bottom line: Education, Education, Education & War wasn’t even fully released by the time we saw this show but we all already knew that it was going to be a great album. And it was. It’s easy to make claims that bands are over when members leave – even key songwriters – but easy claims aren’t always real claims.

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